Posted: 12:15 p.m. Sunday, April 28, 2013
By James Brady
On Friday, I took to Twitter to argue with a few followers regarding the potential drafting of running back Marcus Lattimore. I mentioned that I thought our San Francisco 49ers should draft another safety in the second round, but there were a few followers suggesting Lattimore should be the guy.
That would have been a mistake. I don't subscribe to the line of thinking that a guy can be taken "too early," if he really is that valuable to a football team, but it was glaringly obvious that Lattimore wasn't going to go that soon and he also doesn't fill a huge need.
But in round four? That's where the 49ers can afford to make the pick, and they did. Lattimore is coming to San Francisco and as soon as he's 100 percent, I imagine he'll be favored to take over from Frank Gore, provided he can get back to his pre-injury form.
The drafting of Lattimore does have one likely downside, however: fan favorite Anthony Dixon seems the most likely to lose his roster spot.
Most of you who are familiar with me know that Dixon is not just one of my favorite players on the team, but basically one of my favorite people ever. He's passionate, he's fun and he lives for competition. Best of all, he doesn't take himself seriously. But he does have some added value beyond his personality.
He's pretty good at that football thing. Of course, Dixon doesn't put up huge stats, but I think we've all seen him grow as a running back, as he actually picked up some positive yardage last season and stopped his dancing behind the line of scrimmage.
But he's not nearly good enough to fend off Lattimore for the spot, and the 49ers made another move in the draft that hurt Dixon's chances of remaining on as a special teamer: the drafting of inside linebacker Nick Moody. With NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis in front of him, Moody won't see the field on defense. He'll be a core special teamer, and he'll be expected to step into a big role, at that.
Gore doesn't have too much time left, but Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James certainly aren't going anywhere, unless they're traded somewhere down the line. Lattimore, if healthy, is clearly the future, and that means Dixon has to go, one way or the other. The only saving grace for Dixon right now is that the 49ers absolutely will not play Lattimore until he's 100 percent healthy, and that could mean he won't take up a roster spot for much of the season, or even play this year.
I wish there was a way for Boobie to stick around, but I'm not seeing it, at least when Lattimore is ready to play. Thoughts on this?